The build-up to the 2021 season finale has been largely focused on the prospect of a title-deciding crash, but Lewis Hamilton is confident both he and Max Verstappen want to win “the right way”.
After 21 grands prix in which Formula 1 has been treated to wheel-to-wheel racing from Hamilton and Verstappen, it all comes down to this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The two go into the Yas Marina race tied on points, although Verstappen is P1 as he has one more race win than Hamilton. Momentum, though, is with the Brit.
The numbers mean whoever finishes ahead on Sunday will win the World title, and if neither finish – or at least don’t score – it goes to Verstappen.
That has pundits speculating about a title-deciding crash.
The Prize #AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 #F1 pic.twitter.com/l8UYc3VSBv
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 9, 2021
Hamilton was asked about the prospect of a deliberate crash when he faced the media in Thursday’s driver press conference.
“Going into the weekend, I don’t put any energy towards that sort of thing,” he replied.
“I think at the end of the day, I truly do believe that everyone here racing comes to win.”
“I would like to believe everyone wants to do it the right way, and so I don’t even let that creep into my mind.”
Asked if he was at all worried that the title wouldn’t be decided in a fair manner, Hamilton added: “Honestly, I just don’t give it any energy.
“I’m here to do the best job I can with this incredible team and going back to it again, we never thought that we would be neck and neck going into the last race.
“We’ve had an amazing recovery collectively as a team and we’ve been in a great position these last few races so we go full steam ahead with that same focus, and we don’t waste energy on things that are out of our control.”
One person who has put thought to a deliberate crash is FIA race director Michael Masi, who has already warned both drivers against it.
In an unusual step, he wrote in his pre-race notes: ‘Any infringement of the principles of fairness in competition, behaviour in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempt to influence the result of a competition in a way that is contrary to sporting ethics.
‘For all the FIA championships, cups, challenges, trophies or series, the stewards may also decide to impose the following penalties: Suspension for one or more competitions, withdrawal of points for the championship, cup, challenge, trophy, series.
‘Points should not be deducted separately from Drivers and Competitors, save in exceptional circumstances.’
Asked about Masi’s warning, Hamilton said: “It’s happened in the past obviously, and I am sure the stewards hadn’t taken the precautions they have this time around.
“I think that’s fair that they do it, and hopefully, they won’t need to be used, and we have a great race and move forward.
“I don’t really have an opinion about it otherwise, I’m here to do my job and don’t really want to see the stewards and they don’t want to see me.”
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